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Searching for Competitive Summer Programs?

Did you know that there are many competitive summer programs — hosted by colleges and universities, foundations, and government offices — that provide an internship-like experience, professional development opportunities, and a stipend (and perhaps even travel and housing)?!

Check out our list of Clark-based Funding Sources for Projects and Internships.

These programs are geared towards students with specific interests, backgrounds, and courses of study. The trick is finding the one that is right for you! Below are a few examples of long-standing competitive summer programs:

  • SMDEP — Summer Medical and Dental Program for students from underrepresented groups interested in a career in medicine. Program sites are available nationwide, and the program provides housing, meals, and a stipend.
  • REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) — Competitive summer research programs for students in the sciences and social sciences. Mostly hosted by colleges and universities as well as a few research institutions (such as museums, zoos, etc.) with funding from the National Science Foundation. All provide a stipend, and many provide housing and/or a meal subsidy.
  • SUREs (Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences) — Competitive summer research programs for students that are hosted and funded by colleges and universities. Many are open to students from other universities and will provide a small stipend.
  • Government internship programs — The Departments of Justice, State, Commerce, the FBI, U.S Marshalls Service, etc., all host competitive, paid summer internship opportunities that are posted on their individual websites as well as

What do you need to know about these opportunities?

  • They're highly selective, so students with higher GPAs (3.4 or above) will be most competitive.
  • Some are geared towards certain groups of students (first-years or upperclassmen, first-generation students, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, etc.), so make sure you read the program details.
  • They have earlier deadlines, often in January or February (if not earlier), so do your research early!
  • Many require letters of recommendation, so give your professors plenty of advance notice.

How do you find these opportunities?

  • Clark Recruiter. We get many opportunities sent our way, and we put them all into the Clark Recruiter, so log in and search for "summer"!
  • Ask your professors. Your professors frequently receive notice of opportunities, and will likely have experience based on previous students. Ask them for suggestions!
  • Professional associations. Most professional associations have information and opportunities for undergraduate students. Don't know where to start? Ask your faculty adviser or your LEEP Center adviser for suggestions.
  • Google. Searching for "summer programs in..." can be a great way to start your search.You might also start by looking for opportunities at a major institution in the city in which you plan to stay for the summer.
  • Just ask. Many faculty and organizations do have funding to hire summer help.If you can't locate an existing summer opportunities with the person or organization with whom you'd like to work, email them and ask if they'd be willing to take you on!